The actor says the upcoming six-episode revival will play "like a six-hour movie."
The upcoming six-episode return of The X-Files is just one of several highly anticipated TV series revivals in the works (see: Heroes Reborn, Coach, Fuller House). But David Duchovny said it wasn't originally the plan to bring his cult favorite sci-fi series back to the small screen.
"When I was doing the show, I always assumed – because we started to do the movies – that we would naturally transition to not carrying the load of doing a full season of the show but doing a movie every four or five years," the actor tells THR.
In the midst of it's successful nine-season run on Fox, the first X-Files movie was released in 1998 and went on to gross $190 million worldwide at the box office. The second film, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, earned $68 million worldwide a decade later and six years after the series wrapped. Duchovny, co-star Gillian Anderson and series creator Chris Carter were all vocal about the desire to do a third film in the years since, but nothing ever materialized until the six-episode revival was announced in March.
"That didn't work out with the movies. … [The second movie] did well, but I guess not well enough," said Duchovny. "Fox made some mistakes with that movie that hurt the franchise and they didn't seem to want to do another movie. So as the TV landscape changed and as it became conceivable to do this show without doing 22 or 25 [episodes] of them on television, then it seemed like a natural thing.
"We all started to think, 'I don’t mind doing it on TV if we don’t have to do a full season,' " continued Duchovny. "We just could make it like a six-hour movie."
Despite his comments about damage the franchise sustained from the last film, Duchovny doesn't have the same concerns about the upcoming resurrection.
"It's been awhile since I've played Mulder so it's going to be strange for sure the first couple days. Luckily Gillian will be there and we'll be there for each other to say, 'That doesn’t seem right or something like that,' " said Duchovny with a laugh. "All the principals are back. Chris will be there, Gillian will be there, I'll be there and we can all check on each other and say, 'Is this the show?' Because we'll find it. It's just a matter of relaxing and letting it happen."
Although it's been seven years since he last walked in Special Agent Fox Mulder's shoes, and 13 years since the show wrapped, Duchovny says not much will have changed when The X-Files returns.
"It's going to be the same show," says Duchovny. "It's obviously going to be different times and the characters are going to be older and all of the things that are going to be changing naturally will change."
Production on the new episodes of The X-Files is set to begin this summer. A premiere date has not yet been announced. Duchovny can next be seen in NBC's new drama Aquarius, which premieres May 28 at 9 p.m.